The advent of technology in every sphere life aided the human kind to an extent. This initiation by the tech world also cast its light on the criminal world which in result forced the criminal justice system to cope up with the requirements of contemporary world. Narco Analysis Test in nothing but the progeny of such requirement. It is a scientific form of investigation, which extracts certain statements from the accused, which might act as evidence. But the prime question here is that whether use of scientific ways to extract statements are permissible? The Indian Evidence Act is more or less silent on this point.
The Narco Analysis Test is a process or technique that uses barbiturates (a drug), which in simple terms dulls the senses of a person who then can be questioned by the Specialist. A team comprising of an anesthesiologist, a psychiatrist, a clinical/forensic psychologist, an audio-videographer and supporting staff nurses is required to conduct a Narco Analysis Test. The forensic psychologist prepares a report and was supported by audio-video recording. To further support the report, polygraph and brain mapping tests of the person is also attached. In India this test is in practice, inspite of the fact that in many democratic countries this test is prohibited.
As stated earlier that Narco Analysis Test is not legally validated in India, as confessions are. And the first and foremost legal document that stands in the way of Narco Analysis Test is the Constitution of India. Article 20(3) of the Constitution provides privilege against self incrimination. Prima facie one can say that Narco Analysis is against Article 20(3) which is also true upto an extent but as the Supreme Court of India in the famous case of State of Bombay v. Kathikalu, held that in order to get behind the shield of Article 20(3) one must show that he has been compelled to make incriminatory statements against himself. That compulsion may be threatening, beating or imprisonment of wife, child or parents or to the person himself. In case of confession made without any such compulsion the provisions of Article 20(3) cannot be attracted.
In furtherance of the above, it is to be noted here that obtaining consent of accused to undergo Narco Analysis is necessary, thus it cannot be said the Test is against the provisions of Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India.
The Right to Silence as incorporated in Section 162 of Code of Criminal Procedure is also against the Narco Analysis Test. This section states that a person is required to answer truthfully all the questions put before him by a Police Officer further it states that those questions need not to be answered which would have tendency to expose the person to criminal charges. Also Narco Analysis Test is criticized on the point that it infringes the Right to Life of a person as the process includes mental torture.
It has also been argued that the Narco Analysis Test is against The Right to Privacy and several other fundamental and human rights. The test of also criticized on the point that it does not give 100% accurate result. Some of the studies made also revealed that even after injection of drugs subject made false statements. The quantity of injection of the drugs is also in question. The amount of drugs to be injected relies upon other factors like will power, mental attitude and physique of the subject.
In India, the Godhara Carnage Case was the first case in which the Narco Analysis test was ordered. Also in the case of Abdul Telgi, the accused was subjected to undergo Narco Analysis test, and immense amount of information was extracted but later on the evidentiary value of those extracted information were questioned. The legality of the drugs used in the test is been upheld by the Supreme Court in Ramchandra Reddy’s Case.
In another case of Mohinder Singh Pandher v. State of UP and Anr., the accused was charged for the killing of several women and children in the Nithari Village, Noida. The court in order to get to depth of the matter allowed Narco Test on the accused and his servant.
A court in Kerala held that no court order is required to conduct Narco Analysis test. The reason attached is the seeking order would take time which will act as a hindrance in course of investigation. But in my point of view when the technicalities of a test are not been clarified and universally accepted, such kind of concrete stand needs to be avoided.
As far as the evidentiary value of the information obtained from the test is concerned. The court in several instances held that it should only be used to support the other obtained evidences or can be collaborate with the other evidence. The Court also states that is the admissibility of the test conducted in the particular case is in question then the information obtained is of no use means it can neither be used for collaboration nor to be used to support the evidence obtained is routine course of investigation. It is important to not here that the findings from Narco Analysis Test alone can never be used to prove the guilt of an accused.
In my opinion, Narco Analysis Test has the capability to become one of the best investigation tools if executed properly, and the first step in that regard is to formulate certain guidelines to conduct the test.
The law is a dynamic, which changes with the society, science, and ethics and so on. In order to tackle the modern world criminals we need to invent and introduce new ways. From the above, it can be concluded that the practice of Narco Analysis test is not openly and wholeheartedly accepted in India. But the courts have on several occasions allowed this practice and if the test is done with proper care and caution then the findings of the test may be used as a collaborative piece of evidence.
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